Volunteers wanted for award-winning gardening scheme in care homes

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 February 2018

A Growing Support volunteer helping a participant.

A Growing Support volunteer helping a participant.

Archant

An award-winning gardening scheme which helps older people to socialise and become more active is looking for volunteers to help with the initiative.

Growing Support launched in Bristol three years ago to tackle loneliness and inactivity in older people and to enable nature lovers to continue gardening.

The organisation runs gardening clubs, supported by trained volunteers, where older people work together in the garden, grow their own food and reap the rewards of spending time outdoors.

Activities provide sensory stimulation, exercise, increased social interaction and a sense of purpose, which have proven to work particularly well with dementia patients.

The organisation currently runs fortnightly sessions in Haven Lodge in Portishead and Tilsley House and Ravenswood in Weston and is looking for new volunteers to help out.

Growing Support’s director, Dale Cranshaw, said: “Volunteers are really crucial to Growing Support’s approach. They bring the community into care homes, in which residents can be socially isolated and lonely, provide invaluable social contact and one-to-one support to take part in our nature-based activities.

“We would not have as big an impact in what we do if we didn’t have volunteers there to support us.

“Research shows that our approach can improve the health and quality of life of everyone involved.”

Participants demonstrate improvements in communication and engagement, reduced stress and agitation, and increased sense of belonging, feeling valued and of achievement.

Volunteers support gardeners with specific tasks which they might otherwise find difficult. They also help to create a strong social atmosphere and encourage reminiscing and story-telling.

Volunteers receive an initial induction session and training, on-the-job training and support when working with service users.

Volunteers do not have to be gardening experts but have basic knowledge and skills and be compassionate, respectful and able to relate to vulnerable people.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the scheme, can email Sarah Mountford at volunteers@growingsupport.co.uk or visit www.growingsupport.co.uk

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